A nitpicker’s guide to the 2011 Green Bay Packers season
More 4th And 26
- The A.V. Club’s All-Thanksgiving All-Star Packers team
- Learning to love Jay Cutler
- A brief history of the Minnesota Vikings poaching from the Green Bay Packers
- Home away from home: Browns, Bills, and Lions fans find refuge in Packers Country
- Here we go, Pack, go again: The A.V. Club’s 2013 Packers season preview
Consider this: The Green Bay Packers are currently the only undefeated team in the NFL, have one of the most explosive and consistent offenses in the NFC, and boast a quarterback who may as well just turn some water into wine already and be done with it. Oh, and the team is playing the lowly Minnesota Vikings Monday night in Green Bay, and is almost sure to trot away from that particular contest 9-0. But if you’ve been reading some of the virtual ink dedicated to the green and gold, or have been half-listening to some of the inane sports-radio chatter, you’d think that the Pack was batting .500 and limping its way into a questionable second half of the season.
The sore spot, of course, has been the Packers defense, which can generously be described as, well, generous. The team currently ranks 31st in pass defense, 30th in total defense, and 17th in points-per-game allowed. Even the team’s shadowy, wonderfully named defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, is unimpressed. Capers recently told reporters: “On defense, anyway, none of us are happy with the way we’re playing right now. […] I think we can make significant improvements. I know that.”
But isn’t this much ado about nothing? Sure, the D hasn’t been all that good, but apparently, it’s been good enough. Isn’t it faintly ridiculous and petty to find faults with a team that has been so stellar? With that in mind, here are a few other things only fans of an undefeated professional football team could possibly complain about.
Aaron Rodgers is going commercial
Is Green Bay’s golden boy going soft? That’s the question quietly blowing through sports-radio land like so many dead leaves, apparently due to Rodgers’ red-hot endorsement deal with Associated Bank. Maybe the mostly commercial-free Brett Favre spoiled us—Favre seemed to only do the occasional Wrangler Jeans spot when he needed a fresh pair—but worrying about Rodgers’ foray into cheesy commercials seems awfully silly. Though with Peyton Manning still nursing an injured neck, DirectTV, MasterCard, Sony, Gatorade, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and Spam might be in the market for a new pitchman.
A.J. Hawk and his dog are going commercial
So A.J. Hawk has one of those tiny rat-dogs, and he’ll be appearing alongside “Todd” in a 2012 calendar for a small-breed dog food company, Mighty Dog. Need we say more?
Donald Driver isn’t getting enough passes
Earlier in the season, there was a minor stink about how Rodgers was throwing to too many receivers, making it hard for old warhorses like Donald Driver to put up some serious numbers. The insanity of this nitpick should be apparent—complaining about having too many offensive weapons is like bitching about poor iPhone reception, or a slight Netflix price hike. Call it “white whine” for the green and gold.
Dom Capers doesn’t know what he’s doing
The Packers’ defensive coordinator may have the name (and hair) of a low-rent James Bond villain, but does he know what he’s doing? After all, it’s his defense that has given the team its lowly 3-5 record. (Oh, wait…) But before we write off Capers completely, let’s look at his accomplishments last season: Despite having a beat-up and injury-ridden roster, Green Bay finished the season 2nd in scoring defense, and 5th in total defense. So have patience, Packers faithful. Our defense is sure to get better. Right?
(Fun Fact: At some point in every Packers game, the on-air announcers will inevitably sing the praises of Capers. And, like Beetlejuice, he’ll suddenly appear onscreen after the third—and only the third—invocation of his name. Creepy.)